Time and again, we read and hear about this debate- what to charge for your services? More established, credentialed photographers who worked hard training and building themselves up are justifiably (in my humble opinion) annoyed with those who buy a camera and begin working, charging ridiculously low prices and thereby undercutting the pros.
Photography is so accessible now that this is bound to happen. Furthermore, people see that formal training is not essential in order to find work, thereby making it a very attractive career choice indeed to the ill-informed. A lot of people want flexible, enjoyable work- no one begrudges this. Where certain photographers fall foul of the pros, is when they show a lack of respect for the professional industry by insinuating that any old someone can do this job, so why are YOU charging this much?
The sad fact is that real photographic skill and artistry is not always appreciated by the general public- price is what they’re looking at. Cue the aforementioned photographers who will happily conduct a portrait shoot for say fifty bucks, images supplied on disk. Now, if somebody earns their living this way, more power to them- people are obviously happy to hire them and happy with their work.
Understand though, that photographers such as myself are paying their hard-earned money to complete their accredited training and buy good quality gear AND know how to use it to it’s full advantage. I would never be presumptuous enough to believe I’ll ever know enough to be blasé about photography because there’s always something to learn. I feel the same about Midwifery by the way. I work hard, and therefore I will charge what I believe my skills are worth. Right now, I am a beginner. Some people would argue, how can you say that? Because in the industry, that is absolutely what I am. I am a competent beginner though, and I know what my valuable time and effort is worth. I can choose to expand my little business, or burn out in 5 years from never making enough of a profit to sustain it. I didn’t choose photography because I am idealistic or lazy. It is far easier for me to earn money going to work in a hospital each day as I currently do- that is a guaranteed income. Photography is not. I chose photography when I was in high school, but I couldn’t afford to pursue it then, and with a child to raise, and a mortgage, opted for the career I knew would enable me to provide for her. I love both- both were a calling as cliched as that sounds, at different stages of my life. Both provide something that feeds an aspect of my personality. I feel I have finally restored the balance in my life, creative and artistic needs are now catered for, along with the need to be of service to people, to enrich their lives in some small way.
So dear current and hopefully future clientele, I hope you will understand how seriously I take my work, and how much I hope you will love it. In this, Midwifery and Photography stand side-by-side, for I could say this about either one. I look forward to working with you.